The English Defence League has backed down over its plans to invite Terry Jones – the anti-Muslim racist US pastor who sparked international outrage with calls to burn the Qur’an – to its demonstration in Luton on Saturday 5 February.
Jones is pastor of a church with just 50 members but his call to burn the Qur’an on the anniversary of 9/11 made him a key figure for anti-Muslim racists around the world.
The EDL, an organisation of racist thugs with links to the British National Party and other fascist groups, had boasted it was “proud to announce” that vicious racist and homophobic bigot Jones would speak at its demonstration in Luton on 5 February.
But the EDL has been forced to backtrack after its announcement sparked widespread revulsion among the public in Britain and abroad. The racist thugs did not have the confidence to carry through their invitation.
It has been reported that home secretary Teresa May was considering a ban on Jones. But that is not why the EDL backed off – home office bans on EDL marches in Bradford, Leicester and elsewhere have done nothing to stop the EDL from mobilising.
The EDL includes hardcore fascists who periodically try to “harden up” its racist support. From time to time, they test the water to see how far they can push their violent racism.
Where they have been pushed back this has been because the vast majority of ordinary people reject the EDL’s racism and violence and because antiracists and antifascists have been prepared to mobilise against them and demonstrate that opposition on the streets.
That is why it is essential that antiracists and antifascists turn out again to oppose the EDL in Luton on Saturday 5 February, when UAF is organising a major demonstration against them.
The EDL was formed after masked racist thugs went on the rampage through Luton last year, attacking Asian residents and spreading fear and intimidation.
That is the reason they are targeting Luton again – their own publicity is designed to remind its supporters of their hate-filled history.
The invite to US pastor Terry Jones was designed to whip up publicity for the EDL – but he is not the main event. The problem in this country is the home-grown racists of the EDL.
We need to build the widest possible opposition to the EDL and their anti-Muslim racism and violence.
The campaign to push back the EDL and marginalise their racist hatred must not be scaled back because Terry Jones will no longer be coming. Let’s show the EDL they are not wanted here either.